Advice on new computer

Posted on 2006-04-11
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have narrowed my choices, the big choice if Intel or AMD. I am going to use it to run SQL Server and running VM Ware images.

HP Pavilion Media Center a1440n Desktop PC
# Intel Viiv Technology with an Intel Pentium D Processor 820 [featuring two Processing cores] 2.8GHz (2x1MB L2 Cache) / 800MHz Front Side Bus
# 2.0GB PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM memory (expandable to 4GB) / 4 DIMM (240-pin, DDR2) (two available)
# 250GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive
# Double Layer 16X DVD±R/RW drive with CD Writer capabilities and LightScribe Technology: 16x DVD+R, 8x DVD-R, 4x DVD±RW, 2.4x DVD+R DL, 16x DVD-ROM, 40x CDR, 24x CDRW, 40x CD-ROM / Includes 1 blank HP LightScribe CD-R disc
# NVIDIA GeForce 7300LE graphics card
# Integrated 10/100BaseT Network interface
# Intel High Definition Audio, 8 speaker configurable
# 56K modem
# 4 DIMM (240-pin, DDR2) (two available)
# Expansion Slots - 3 PCI slots (2 available) / 1 PCI Express slot (occupied)


HP a1450n
# Processor; AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor 4200+ for TRUE multi-taskingProcessor
# Speed; 2.2GHz
# Processor Cache; 512KB+512KB L2 Cache
# Bus Speed; 2000MHz System Bus
# Memory; 2.0GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM memory (2x1GB for ultimate performance)
# Operating System; Windows XP Media Center
# Hard Drive; 250GB 7200RPM Serial ATA hard drive
# Optical Drive; Double Layer 16X DVDR/RW drive with CD writer capabilities and LightScribe Technology: (16x DVD+R, 8x DVD-R, DVD-R, 4x DVDRW, 2.4x DVD+R DL, 16x DVD-ROM, 40x CDR, 24x CDRW, 40x CD-ROM,DVD-ROM drive 16x max. speed)
# Video Graphics; Integrated NVIDIA Graphics
# Network Interface; 10/100BaseT network interface
# Sound; Integrated audio, 6 Channel Surround Sound configurable
# Fax/Modem; 56k modem
# Memory Slots; DIMM (184-pin, DDR SDRAM)

Used for SQL Server and running VM Ware, no gaming.
Question by:dkros
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    The Intel dual cores are not as good as the AMD dual cores, unless you go for the 900 series processors.

    Athlon64 X2 comparison with Opterons and P4EE,XE

    Pentium-D 900 series cpus
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    Hello dkros

    Neither SQL Server and VMware are going to push your processor at all, whatever type you get.  The most noticeable improvements are gained by maxing out your RAM (although 2Gb is plenty), and having a good hard drive setup.  So think about whether you want to run 2 or more hard drives.  Possible scenarios...

    1 x hard drive for general system stuff
    1 x hard drive for SQL database storage and VMware images

    In both cases, keep the pagefile ad temp directories with the main system drive, as these are the ones that will take a hit if you push SQL and VMware to their limits.  This way you can spread the load over 2 drives.

    Or perhaps you want to make a RAID, either 0 for performance, or 1 for redundancy?  There's only about a 10% max gain in RAID 0 though so the benefits are probably not worth the enhanced risk of data loss.

    I hope this helps,
    Steve :)

    Author Comment

    Thanks Steve, good info. Will the SATA drive help? Can I have more than one SATA drive?
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    Hi again dkros,

    Yes, the SATA drive will help but only marginally.  SATA is a faster interface than IDE but you're still limited to the physical data transfer speed of the drive.  If you want a fast drive, get the Western Digital Raptor series, they spin at 10,000rpm and are the fastest non-SCSI drives around.  See here:

    All about SATA:

    Yes, you can have more than one SATA drive.  The number of SATA controllers and number of drives supported will be in the motherboard specification.

    Steve :)

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